Car in the Sky
May 30, 2019
Rebecca Mordechai with AP reporting
An electric flying vehicle called Skai (pronounced “sky”) was unveiled yesterday near Los Angeles, California. Skai is made by Alaka’i Technologies. The vehicle has six rotors on top. Inside, there are seats for five passengers. To many people, Skai looks like a cross between a giant drone and a car. Alaka’i Technologies hopes the vehicle will one day serve as a flying taxi, a cargo carrier, and an ambulance.
Other companies, such as Boeing and Airbus, are also designing electric aircraft. They are using batteries to power them. But batteries can weigh the vehicles down.
Skai uses hydrogen fuel cells to power its rotors. Hydrogen fuel cells are a lighter alternative to batteries. They allow the vehicle to transport 1,000 pounds. They might also be less damaging to the environment. “It’s the cleanest form of energy on the planet,” Bruce Holmes told Digital Trends, a technology news website. Holmes is on the board of Alaka’i Technologies.
A test flight will take place near the company’s Massachusetts headquarters. But it may be years before the aircraft is cleared to carry passengers. Skai must first meet regulations. These regulations are set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“The technology is interesting, but the regulatory road will be very long,” Thaddeus Lightfoot said. Lightfoot is an attorney. He helps companies navigate FAA rules.
Alaka’i Technologies is hopeful that Skai will get FAA approval to fly passengers soon. In the meantime, the company’s CEO, Stephen Hanvey, says the craft could be used to transport food and water. It could also serve as a mobile cell tower in places struck by natural disasters.